Tour de Cryx -The Deneghra Surprise Retrospective

 

While it’s been a long time since it happened, I’m finally here, with the finale of the Deneghra 2 Articles, and if you took any hint from the article title, you’ll already know where this ends. Either way, come on it, lets talk about Denny 2 for a bit! 

Last Games

As I mentioned at the halfway point, I decided to try a different list so that I would have a stronger understand of what she was giving up when she played outside of Ghost Fleet. I played both games with the modified list, one against Baldur 1 and one against Zerkova 2. The Zerkova game was educational in a number of ways, including how Stalkers function and the Baldur 1 game was simply a rough ride on the death train. Zerkova got a raw deal when I was able to sink a number of hellmouths into most vulnerable areas, vacuuming out a number of support models and, thankfully, Sylyss. With the Mechanithralls Ambushing into the side of the army I was able to threaten back strikes with the Brute Thralls, which aren’t that pleasing to many models. Its really easy to underestimate that +2 to hit. I was also able to use the stalkers, poorly, for the first time and they served me well, if not long, freeing up an arc node after it was counter-charged by Zerkova’s bodyguard. Curse of Shadows didn’t work as I desired for the birds and they mostly ended up slain rather quickly. Spell Ward is a giant pain. 

The game against Baldur went a lot worse. I misplaced my arc node, and didn’t realize the flow of the game until almost all my chances of victory were removed from the game. Once again, the Hellslinger proved his worth, and I really fell in love with the Marked for Death spell. Being able to shine a spotlight on a unit with stealth is a great feeling. Well, for me. By the time the game wore down, I just didn’t have the oomph to push through and kill his caster, and I fell to an assassination run after Deathjack was peeled, kicking and screaming, from the table. 

The Final list

At the time I stopped playing her, this was by far my favorite list to use with her. I’m pretty sure, though, that I would tweak it now, over a month later. Ghost Fleet is so good I’d really rather not play her out of theme. Combining her spell list with the overwhelmingly versatile list is just too much goodness to push aside. That said, I still think that this Infernal Machines list is very good. 

[Theme] Infernal Machines

 Wraith Witch Deneghra [+28]
– Corrupter [16]
– Deathjack [23]
– Deathripper [6]
– Stalker [8]
Hellslinger Phantom [7]
Pistol Wraith [0(5)]
Pistol Wraith [0(5)]
Soul Trapper [1]
Soul Trapper [1]
Carrion Thralls (max) [10]
Mechanithralls (min) [6]
– Brute Thrall (3) [6]
Mechanithralls (max) [9]
– Brute Thrall (3) [6]
Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls [4]

It has a lot of directions going for it, including a surprising number of applications for the feat, if you need it. I’m starting to lean against Deathjack because he’s such a huge points sink and isn’t as blatantly survivable as I want him to be without an armor buff. Its the same list that I went over earlier, so I won’t be labor the point. If you ever feel like trying out Deneghra 2, give this list a spin and tell me what you think. She’s clearly better as an in-fleet Ghost Fleet answer, but feel the list out, its pretty solid. 

Overall Impressions

Deneghra 2 isn’t going to light the world on fire any time soon, but she is sure better than her billing gives her credit for. Lacking a feat is a huge problem, but her spell list more than makes up for it. Hellmouth is reliably great and contextually brilliant, Curse of Shadows is that perfect armor debuff, and Marked for Death is one of my very favorite spells now. I’m pleased that she is at least good.  Honestly, though, I forgot Venom existed for the first three games and I never cast Influence because the perfect time never came up. Having to roll double the dice to perform an actual attack is a recipe for disaster that I don’t want to follow. 

I think that she personally can take advantage of a lot of the terrain that is going to be in on the tables in the SR17 environment, and her speed (7) and ability to be incorporeal will likey be a strong asset going after uncontested zones and flags to score extra points. 

What I really enjoyed about her, and in the end I really did enjoy playing her, was her ability to adapt to the game on the other side of the board. Even in the games I lost, I could look back and see a fairly clear avenue to victory, even if it meant that I needed to more aggressively expose her in order to take the game. Hellmouth has a lot of lateral thinking that can be applied to move models into a more advantageous position for further punishment. Sadly, though, the old idiom comes to me in this situation: Deneghra 2’s best list is Ghost Fleet, but Ghost Fleet isn’t best with Deneghra 2. Her younger, more talented sister is really the place where the list shines. She clearly has her applications, and in the hands of a skilled player will definitely surprise many people and enable some overwhelming wins, but there is still a lot of ground to cover with her as the pilot before you get to that point. 

 

Problem Areas 

Given all her good points, she is still one of the weakest casters in the faction  – That I’ve played until now. She’s no Sturgis 2, but they are sitting on the same bench, off to the side of the field together. She’s extremely vulnerable to random assassination as DEF 16 and ARM 15 just aren’t enough to put her out of harms way. On the turns where she isn’t incorporeal a standing still, boosted rat 5 hits her almost 75% of the time. Its not really the greatest of odds. Sure, she can get into the woods, behind it, or even interpose a wall or house, but even that will only change the odds unless she is fully blocked from LOS. 

She is also a caster that is extremely reliant on her arc nodes to get work done, on her stalkers for KD, and her focus going out into spells. Rarely is she as safe as she wants to be, even in her most confident position on the board. She’s also predictable in that manner, and will be hiding behind the largest piece of terrain on the board that she can find and thus giving your opponent valuable information about positioning that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Lastly, her feat is complete garbage. I don’t mean that it won’t have its obtuse uses or that it isn’t going to play a factor into the game because it very clearly will. Instead, its a fairly weak spell contingent on attack rolls to apply a debuff that only affects about 20% of the models in the game. Its depressing to use, it feels like it doesn’t feel like a waste not to have used it, and its often not going to open the game up when you do it. So many casters and factions complain about their feats being weak, but I can’t compare them in any meaningful way to this waste of ink. I rail against this feat a lot, and I feel its deserved. Yes, I can easily apply -3 defense to a single caster in almost any position, but I can do similar things with Covens’ spell, Deneghra 1’s feat – which is leagues better because of the other effects, the Pistol Wraiths chain attack, and others. That type of effect is not a feat level ability. Its just not. I would love to see her get a re-written feat that would be something that many Cryx Casters don’t get, something a bit defensive. I know that Kolgrima had a similar feat and it was shouted down, but I would prefer Web of Shadows to read something like this:

Web of Shadows: Enemy models ending their activation in Warwitch Deneghra’s Control area suffer Shadow Bind for one round. Web of Shadows lasts for one round. 

That would be cool, probably not terribly good, but it would feel better than this current feat that just stings of MKII Denny 2 hate. That hate was justified, but probably not this much. 

Final Thoughts 

Denny 2 is a surprisingly good caster, and I want to rank her higher than I do, but she is just missing that hammer to finish the game off. Thankfully ghost fleet gives her a version of that hammer, but is just never going to make up for the fact that she’s just not as good as her first incarnation. She will have niche use as an RFP caster, which is useful into the the Ghost Fleet lists de jour, but will otherwise gather dust. She’s fun, and cannot be judged only by her cover. 

Given all her ups and downs, I can only really give her a mediocre grade: 4.9

I’ve started a page up where I rank the casters I’ve played against each other. Take a look at where I rank Deneghra and the rest of the Tour de Cryx Here!